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Pam Smy studied Illustration at Anglia Ruskin University, going on to complete the MA Children's Book Illustration in 2004. She combines her role as lecturer in illustration with illustrating fiction. Pam lives in Cambridge.
There’s magic and joy in this gorgeous picture book. Little Merrylegs is a riding school pony, clumping round the stables wishing his life was more interesting. He longs to be as tall and beautiful as the racehorses he watches from his paddock, and when his friend Feathers reminds him how happy the children are to ride him, Merrylegs doesn’t listen. Then a fair comes to town, and a magical encounter with the carousel horses changes Merryleg’s view of himself forever, his stumble clop turning into a clippetty trip. It’s a lovely, truly satisfying story of friendship and self-belief, perfectly told through Pam Smy’s illustrations and gentle text. ............................ An enchanting story of friendship and self-belief illustrating you can see the world with new eyes. Merrylegs is a bored riding school pony just plodding around the school, not noticing the delight of the children who ride him. It takes his friend Feathers to show him the Carousel in a local fair to inspire him to new heights. It takes a while, and the magic of the night for Merrylegs to realise he can be the pony that strides out, going from ‘stumble, clump, clippety clomp’ to ‘snippety trip, clippety trip, trip, trot, trip’! His dreams have inspired him and he’s now the pony enjoying all the children riding him. This is a beautiful simple storybook showing you can achieve your dreams – a truly inspirational message. The illustration style is clear and accurate with lovely details to spot, the ponies look like you really could ride them. Spot the deliberate changes from frontispiece to end papers – reinforcing the story message. Pam Smy uses so many different techniques in her books I do hope she continues to use what I assume are lithographic processes. The lovely rhythm of Merrylegs strides, repeated often in the text, will make this a read aloud favourite for classes and children everywhere. Tricia Adams
UKLA Longlist Book Awards - 2019 | Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2018 | Two lonely girls are at the heart of Pam Smy’s strikingly told gothic story. Mary lives at Thornhill, an old mansion turned children’s home and is cruelly tormented by one of the other girls. Mary is selectively mute and we read her story through her diary entries as well as in the wordless, full page monochrome illustrations. Ella’s story is told entirely through the illustrations. She has just moved in nearby and we work out that her mother is dead. When Ella sees Mary in the grounds of Thornhill a friendship develops though by then Ella and reader both know that Mary is a ghost. Heartbreakingly sad and thoroughly chilling at the same time, this is an unforgettable read; powerful, atmospheric, skilfully paced, Pam Smy’s illustrations pull the reader into the creepy Thornhill world.
Merrylegs wants to be loved and to make people happy. But he is a dumpy clumpy riding-school pony. How could anyone ever love him? Find out in this enchanting story of friendship, courage and self-belief - when you believe in yourself, you see the world with fresh eyes!
As she unpacks in her new bedroom, Ella is irresistibly drawn to the big old house that she can see out of her window. Surrounded by overgrown gardens, barbed wire fences and 'keep out' signs, it looks derelict. But that night, a light goes on in one of the windows. And the next day she sees a girl in the grounds. Ella is hooked. The house has a story to tell. She is sure of it. Enter Thornhill, Institute for Children, and discover the dark secrets that lie within.But once inside, will you ever leave?